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Byrd, William

tallis music songs queen

Byrd, William, great English composer; b. probably in Lincoln, c. 1540; d. Stondon Massey, Essex, July 4, 1623. There are indications that Byrd studied music with Tallis. On March 25, 1563, Byrd was appointed organist of Lincoln Cathedral. In 1570 he was sworn in as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, while retaining his post at Lincoln Cathedral until 1572. He then assumed his duties, together with Tallis, as organist of the Chapel Royal. In 1575 Byrd and Tallis were granted a patent by Queen Elizabeth I for the exclusive privilege of printing music and selling music paper for a term of 21 years. However, the license proved unprofitable and they successfully petitioned the Queen in 1577 to give them an annuity in the form of a lease. In 1585, after the death of Tallis, the license passed wholly into Byrd’s hands. The earliest publication of the printing press of Byrd and Tallis was the first set of Cantiones sacme for 5 to 8 Voices (1575), printed for them by Vautrollier and dedicated to the Queen. Works issued by Byrd alone under his exclusive license were Psalmes, Sonets and Songs (1588), Songs of Sundrie Natures (1589), and 2 further vols, of Cantiones sacrae (1589, 1591). Many of his keyboard pieces appeared in the MS collection My Lady e Nevells Booke (1591) and in Francis Tregian’s Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (c. 1612-19), among others. During the winter of 1592-93, he moved to Stondon Massey, Essex. He subsequently was involved in various litigations and disputes concerning the ownership of the property. Between 1592 and 1595 he publ. 3 masses, and between 1605 and 1607 he brought out 2 vols, of Gradualia. His last collection, Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets, was publ. in 1611. Byrd was unsurpassed in his time in compositional versatility. His masterly technique is revealed in his ecclesiastical works, instrumental music, madrigals, and solo songs.

Byrd, William (c. 1543–1623) - BIOGRAPHY, CRITICAL RECEPTION [next] [back] Byrd, Donald(son Toussaint L'ouverture, II)

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